Q:

Why do fluorescent lights hum?

A:

Quick Answer

Fluorescent light fixtures hum when they have a magnetic, rather than electronic, ballast. The noise is caused by the magnetic ballast vibrating at a frequency of 60 hertz.

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Full Answer

Magnetic ballasts, also known as transformers, have relatively low cycle rate modulating the alternating current in the fluorescent tube, which often results in a noticeable flickering of the light source. The simplest solution to avoid these effects is to replace the magnetic ballast with a modern electronic ballast which operates at 20,000 to 60,000 hertz. Additionally, electronic ballasts conserve electricity better; magnetic ballasts can waste up to 10 percent of a lamp's input power.

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    What is a ballast in fluorescent lighting?

    A:

    According to the Lighting Research Center, a ballast is an electrical component that limits the amount of current that can flow through a fluorescent light tube. Without a ballast, a fluorescent bulb would draw more and more current until it blew itself out. In commercial applications, fluorescent bulbs and ballasts are often two separate components, while consumer fluorescent lights, such as CFL bulbs, often combine the two units together.

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    How do I change a ballast?

    A:

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    What is a fluorescent lamp?

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